QUICK LINKS TO THIS PAGE:
- Elizabethan poetry — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis and other poems — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Greek and Latin Poetry — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Medieval and Renaissance poetry — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Dante in Sight and Sound - YouTube Videos, free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Romantic poetry — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- The poems of Giacomo Leopardi — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- The poems of Victor Hugo — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — free ebooks and Amazon picks
- Grim Reaper Books Links (Lovecraft, Edward Gorey et al)
LARGEST WORLD LIBRARY OF E-BOOKS. More than eleven million books and texts in PDF, HTML, plain text and other formats. Many are exact facsimiles scanned and posted by university libraries and public libraries. The world’s largest public library, with everything free, including sound files and videos. Here is ample proof that the age of the printed book is nearly over, when it is now possible for anyone on earth to “own” over a million older books. Several Poet’s Press books have been added to this world library. https://archive.org 03/2018
BOOKS DESIGNED BY ARTISTS. Hundreds of artists’ books — books designed and often hand-made by visual artists, along with a journal dedicated to artists’ books, posted by University of Virginia Library. This is also a serious bibliographic site for tracking down artists' books held in various libraries. Considering the deep connections between poets and visual artists, this site may be helpful. http://www.artistsbooksonline.org 03/2018
SERIOUS MUSIC TALK. Here's a blog with many links by Andrew Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker Magazine. Ross is author of The Rest Is Noise, the best book ever about 20th Century Music. CLICK HERE FOR THE BLOG. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE REST IS NOISE. 03/2018
FREE EBOOKS FOR YOUR DIGITAL POETRY LIBRARY (AND AMAZON RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRINT BOOKS)
Here's a very readable ebook edition of a classic edition of all of Shakespeare's poems, including the Sonnets, The Rape of Lucrece, and Venus and Adonis. This 1898 edition, presented here in a good PDF from archive.org, has an excellent introduction and notes by George Wyndham. CLICK HERE to download. 04/2016
Less scholarly, but with more handsome typography -- and some useful footnotes -- is this handsome 1910 edition, also from archive.org. The sonnets are followed by a glossary of Elizabethan words, and notes by Israel Gollancz. CLICK HERE to download.
For access to more than 80,000 Shakespeare-related images from the Folger Shakespeare library, CLICK HERE. 04/2017
For the entire text of all Shakespeare's plays and poems, visit MIT's Shakespeare pages at
"Not right now, Venus -- I have other things to do!" (as painted by Titian). The goddess Venus attempts, in vain, to lure the mortal Adonis away from the hunt in Shakespeare's first published poem, based on the tragic tale from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Venus, accustomed to getting her way with men, loses Adonis when he is killed by a wild boar. By concentrating on the male as object of lustful attention, Shakespeare establishes the groundwork for his mysterious sonnets, many of which are smitten by the beauty of the elusive "Mr. W.H." To read a beautiful facsimile of the original first printing of Venus and Adonis as well as The Rape of Lucrece and The Sonnets, go to:
Amos, Andrew, ed. Gems of Latin Poetry. A collection of poems in Latin from various eras (including British poems composed in Latin). An excellent bilingual resource with the original Latin, prose or verse English translations, and commentary. Odd items include a poem attributed to Julius Caesar, a Latin poem condemning Milton’s works to be burned at the stake, and Latin love poems addressed to Lucrezia Borgia. A treasure trove for those searching obscure and interesting Latin poems to translate or paraphrase. From the Internet Archive in PDF and other file formats. 04/2017
THE CLASSICS, GREEK AND LATIN: The Classics, Greek & Latin; The Most Celebrated Works of Hellenic and Roman Literature, Embracing Poetry, Romance, History, Oratory, Science, and Philosophy -- A handsome series of books published a hundred years ago, edited by a transatlantic group of scholars and translators, intended to present the great Greek and Latin classics to the general reader. The volumes are a mix of prose and verse translations. Here are the volumes that contain poetry:
- Andrew Lang’s prose translation of Homer’s Iliad. PDF and other formats from The Internet Archive. Lang's style is arcane, and does not compare well with Samuel Butler's prose version (see below). 04/2017
- Andrew Lang’s prose translation of Homer’s Odyssey. PDF and other formats from The Internet Archive. 04/2017
- From the same series, a compendium of Didactic and Lyric Poetry from the oldest Greek poets, including Hesiod, Callimachus, Sappho, Anacreon and Pindar. 04/2017
- A collection of some of the best-known Greek Dramas, including Prometheus Bound (translated by Elizabeth Barrett Browning), Antigone, and Medea. 04/2017
- Prose versions of The Poetry of Virgil, including The Georgics and The Aeneid. 04/2017
- The Works of Horace, translated into English prose. 04/2017
- Here is the pinnacle of Latin poetry in the volume titled, Amatory, Philosophical, Mythological. This volume includes selections from Lucretius, the great philosopher-poet, the satirist Catullus, the magisterial Propertius, and the first four parts of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. 04/2017
Richardson, Leon Josiah. A Guide to Reading Latin Poetry. This brief, practical guide explains Latin meters and helps the beginner learn how to read Latin aloud, and how its classical meters work. A stodgy old book, but very useful. 04/2017
SAMUEL BUTLER'S PROSE VERSION OF HOMER'S ILIAD. Published in 1898, here is Samuel Butler's fine translation of The Iliad into clear and readable prose. This is an elegant rendering, highly readable, and far enough from our own time that Butler's everyday English sounds just slightly removed and grand. 04/2017
THE RETURN OF STATIUS. Perhaps it is time for the scorned Roman poet Statius, author of the epic Thebaid, to make a comeback. He is the Stephen King of Roman poetry, full of extremes, the product of Rome at its peak of power and flowering of decadence: “Who can sing of the spectacle, the unrestrained mirth, the banqueting, the unbought feast, the lavish streams of wine? Ah, now I faint…” Here is the Heineman bilingual edition of Statius as a starter on this voluptuous poet. For a taste of the 18th century take on Statius, here is a 1767 English translation of The Thebaid Vol 1, and The Thebaid, Vol 2, whose introduction includes some comments on the critics’ disapproval of Statius’s unrestrained writing. 04/2017
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE POETRY
HOW TO READ AND APPRECIATE DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY. For many readers, the most approachable Dante Divine Comedy version has been poetry-free. The prose edition offered by Modern Library drops the Italian poetry altogether and provides a clear prose translation, with exhaustive footnotes. The texts used, all in the public domain, were created at the turn of the 20th century: The Inferno by John Aitken Carlyle, Purgatorio by Thomas Okey, and Paradiso by P. H. Wicksteed. While you can certainly pick up used copies of the hardcover Modern Library edition, or the Vintage paperback, for pennies on Amazon, we find that there is more than a little offense given to Dante by omitting the original Italian poetry. Even casual readers are curious to see and hear the music of Dante’s language. Especially, when a reader encounters an unforgettable passage, an appetite to know arises about how that passage might sound in the original Italian.DANTE IN SIGHT AND SOUND ... GO TO HELL, EVEN ON YOUR SMARTPHONE .
Fortunately, the original printings of Carlyle, Okey, and Wicksteed do include the original Italian next to the prose translations, and several printings of those editions have been added to the Internet Archive, where you can download a free PDF of the books.
Dante’s Inferno in the Carlyle translation: https://archive.org/details/inferno00dant_3
Dante’s Purgatorio in the Okey translation: https://archive.org/details/purgatorioofdant00dant_0
Dante’s Paradiso in the Wicksteed translation: https://archive.org/details/paradisoofdantea00dantrich 04/2016
Hear the first two Cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio, accompanied by the glorious color illuminations from a fifteenth century Sienese manuscript, narrated by translator Jacob Rabinowitz.
See and hear the Tenth Canto of Dante’s Purgatorio, with the illustrations by Botticelli, translated and narrated by Jacob Rabinowitz. This is part of an ongoing project to present all of Dante in a visual manner, without footnotes, suitable for viewing and listening on devices even as small as a smartphone.
An exploration of the Vellutello engravings of Dante’s Purgatorio, Cantos 1 through 9, narrated by Jacob Rabinowitz. A brilliant examination of how Renaissance artists visualized the cosmography, geography and topography of Hell, Purgatory, Earth and Heaven. Any reader setting out to explore Dante would benefit from this information.For an overview of Jacob Rabinowitz’s ground-breaking Renaissance-related projects, visit his home page (Online Renaissance) at YouTube:
THE POEMS OF GIACOMO LEOPARDI. Here is the Project Gutenberg text-only edition of Leopardi, the melancholic hunchback who was the Lord Byron and Shelley of Italian literature — the greatest Italian Romantic poet, translated by Frederick Townsend in 1887. Alternately, here are the poems in a PDF edition, the Bickersteth translation of 1923, with a biographical note. 04/2016
THE POEMS OF VICTOR HUGO. It is difficult to find old editions of Hugo's poetry that capture the sheer power and scope of his writing. Hugo is everything in 19th century French poetry: romantic, decadent, transcendental, political. These are links to older editions, whose preservation will have to do until a masterful modern edition of all of Hugo in English appears. The Estes & Lauriat edition of the Hugo had three volumes of Hugo's poetry, available here: Volume 19, Volume 20, and Volume 21 of that series, available from The Internet Archive (click over each title in blue to download and read). The lattermost volume includes the pwoerful "Chastisments," the political poems Hugo hurled at Napoleon III during his years of exile. (Note: Volume 21 has an incomplete Table of Contents, but all the pages seem to be there.) If you are new to Hugo, read Vol 21 first.
Another selection worth reading is this exquisitely printed 1887 edition of translations by Carrington.
This Boston Edition from 1908 has a good selection of poems, in translations by many hands. This is one volume in a big Victor Hugo set thad had introductions by Robert Louis Stevenson, a curious choice since many of his prefatory pieces frowned upon Hugo's writing. The volume of poetry is happily free of feline interventions.03/2018
THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM. Fitzgerald's 1859 translation/adaptation of the fervent, skeptical, worldly, wine-loving mathematician-poet who lived in Persia from 1048 to 1122 CE, is a classic in Orientalism and in Western decadence. It was, at the turn of the 20th century, arguably the most-read and most-recited poem in the English-speaking world. The Rubiayat craze swept the middle class, and the best Edwardian homes had carpeted and perfurmed "Persian corners," where a hookah might be smoked, and where numerous illustrated copies of The Rubiayat could be found. Hundreds of rival editions were printed. The poem's glaring insults to orthodox faith of all kinds, and its claims for Romantic love, made it a favorite for rebels and lovers alike. Its charm has not yet faded. Here is a 1906 printing by Elbert Hubbard and The Roycofters, whose shops in East Aurora, New York (near Buffalo) produced a number of Rubiayats. We have trimmed out the blank pages to make this more ebook-friendly; the scans are from archive.org. CLICK HERE TO READ. 03/2018
New York poet Vinni Marie d'Ambrosio's site displays her dazzling poetry and prose. Her now-out-of-print and highly-collectible book, Mexican Gothic (pictured at left) opened to a life-size Day of the Dead figure. Her poem "Copper Beech" appears on a public memorial monument commissioned by New York City.
She has also written an intriguing book on the (seemingly unlikely) influence of Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam on T.S. Eliott.
For a list of her books CLICK HERE. 03/2018
EVERYTHING ABOUT LOVECRAFT. The H.P. Lovecraft Archives — Good site for information about the life & writings of H.P. Lovecraft. 03/2018
THE MAN WHO SAVED LOVECRAFT FOR POSTERITY. The August Derleth Society — It’s become fashionable to denigrate August Derleth, the young writer and HPL fan who went on to found Arkham House, the publishing firm that kept Lovecraft’s work alive when no one else cared, and who fostered many younger horror writers. Hard-core Lovecraftians resent Derleth for adding his own more coventional “Good versus Evil” take on the Mythos, and for his posthumous “collaborations” based on HPL story fragments. We think that Derleth deserves better, and the August Derleth Society’s site is a good place to learn more about this prolific and humane writer. 03/2018
FOR EDWARD GOREY FANS. The West Wing. A great site for fans of illustrator, poet and writer Edward Gorey. Includes an interview, reproductions of his many book covers and dust jackets, and a bibliography of his books. 03/2018.
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